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Atayef with Cream Cheese Filling (Ishta Filling)

If you love fried dough, you are in the right place! This Arabic dessert is one of our favorite parts of our meal to break our fast during Ramadan.

Whether you observe Ramadan or not, you are going to want to try this recipe! It is a hearty, utensil-free dessert and is a total crowd pleaser.

What is Atayef made of?

Atayef, also sometimes written Qatayef, is a delicious Middle Eastern dessert. Essentially, Atayef are made of a batter similar to pancakes. It is then stuffed with a whipped or creamed cheese.

Atayef batter is fluffy like a pancake, and bubbles up like a British crumpet! You then fill them with a yummy cheese mixture, and pinch them up like dumplings.

To cook Atayef, you can bake them in the oven or fry them. We personally LOVE to air fry our Atayef. It is so easy, and the mess is limited. You can absolutely deep fry them, though, if that’s your preference!

How to make the simple syrup

Simple syrup is exactly as the name suggests: simple! You can totally buy it at a grocery store, but it is so easy to make at home.

Simply – pun intended – combine equal parts sugar and water in a small sauce pot. Heat up the saucepan on the stovetop until the water begins to boil. Give the liquid a stir, and keep the heat on until the sugar dissolves. Once the sugar is no longer visible, turn off the burner and allow the liquid to cool.

And there you go! You have simple syrup.

The beauty of simple syrup is that you can infuse flavors easily. Here are some ways you can add more flavor to this dish:

  • Try adding mint to the pot before you boil the liquid. Allow the mint to infuse for 10 minutes after the syrup comes together and remove.
  • You can do pretty much the exact same thing with ginger root! We recommend cutting the ginger into dime sized pieces for the best results.
  • Orange peel is another great infusion. You can also try orange zest if you want to incorporate it into the simple syrup. This method would work for any citrus zest!
  • For the cooler months, we love infusing cinnamon and a dash of vanilla. It is so warming. You can use cinnamon sticks or ground cinnamon.

How to make our Atayef with cream cheese filling recipe

Making our delicious cream cheese filled Atayef recipe is best broken down into three steps:

Creating the Atayef batter and cooking it in a pan, then mixing the cream cheese filling, and lastly, stuffing the Atayef pancakes to air fry them.

Just make sure you take the cream cheese out of the fridge before you start on the Atayef batter. This will make sure that the cream cheese is at room temperature by the time you need to mix it!

Step 1: Make the Atayef

  1. In a blender, add the all purpose flour, cream of wheat, yeast, sugar, baking powder, salt and sugar. Pour the room temperature water in and blend the ingredients together.
  2. When the components are smooth, add baking soda to the mix and pulse together a couple times. Be careful not to over-blend after adding the baking soda. Let batter rest for 20 minutes.
  3. Use a small ladle to pour a scoop of the Atayef batter into a hot pan.
  4. Cook the Atayef until the top side bubbles up. It will look like a cross between a pancake and a crumpet!
  5. Set them aside over a towel and cover with the top facing up. (This will prevent them from drying out).

Step 2: Make the cream cheese filling

  1. Remove the cream cheese from the fridge to bring it to room temperature.
  2. Get a large bowl. Add the cream cheese , greek yogurt and sugar to the bowl. Mix it all together using a whisk.
  3. Set aside.

Step 3: Stuff and cook the Atayef

  1. Scoop a spoonful of the cream cheese filling into the center of the Atayef.
  2. Fold the Atayef in half and pinch the edges together. You are essentially making sweet dumpling pouches!
  3. Preheat air fryer to 350 degrees F. Place in an air fryer and spray on some cooking oil. Cook for 8-10 minutes.
  4. Drizzle simple syrup over them and serve warm!

Can you freeze Atayef?

This recipe is so good, it is rare to have leftovers. But it is a great recipe to make in advance and freeze.

In order to freeze, prepare the Atayef all the way up until the final step of frying it. Do not air fry it before freezing it. When you are ready to eat them, defrost them in the fridge for up to 24 hours, then pick up where you left off! Fry them in the air fryer and drizzle with simple syrup!

Atayef with Cream Cheese Filling (Ishta Filling)

Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Dessert
Cuisine middle eastern
Servings 16
Calories
Ingredients
  
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cream of wheat
  • 3 cups room temperature water
  • 1 tbsp regular yeast
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 8 oz cream cheese (room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup full fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
Instructions
 
  • In a blender, add the all purpose flour, cream of wheat, yeast, sugar, baking powder, salt and sugar. Pour the room temperature water in and blend the ingredients together.
  • When the components are smooth, add baking soda to the mix and pulse together a couple times. Be careful not to over-blend after adding the baking soda. Let batter rest for 20 minutes.
  • Use a small ladle to pour a scoop of the Atayef batter into a hot pan.
  • Cook the Atayef until the top side bubbles up. It will look like a cross between a pancake and a crumpet!
  • Set them aside over a towel and cover with the top facing up. (This will prevent them from drying out)
  • In a bowl add the cream cheese, greek yogurt and sugar. Mix it all together using a whisk.
  • Scoop a spoonful of the cream cheese filling into the center of the Atayef.
  • Fold the Atayef in half and pinch the edges together. You are essentially making sweet dumpling pouches!
  • Preheat air fryer to 350 degrees F. Place in an air fryer and spray on some cooking oil. Cook for 8-10 minutes.
  • Drizzle simple syrup over them and serve warm!
Keyword atayef, atayef with ashta cream, atayef with ishta, ramadan desserts
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2 Comments

  1. Can we also please have the ingredients for the ‘Atayef with cream cheese filling (ishta filling)’ when I attempt to print it. Regards